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Billy Waters - Soldier, Actor and Musician

As well as highly acclaimed professional musicians like Joseph Emidy and George Bridgetower, there were Black street buskers who entertained London’s public. Billy Waters, a fiddler, was one such character and a common sight outside the Adelphi Theatre, in the Strand, in the 1780s. Identifiable by his wooden leg and military-style outfit, he was famously caricatured by the cartoonist George Cruickshank. 

Billy Waters may have ended up on the streets of London as one of the Black poor who had fought in the American War of Independence. From workhouse records, it seems that Billy became ill and spent his final days at St Giles’s Workhouse where he was elected ‘the king of beggars’. A verse from his will reads:

                   Thus poor Black Billy’s made his Will,
                   His Property was small good lack,
                   For till the day death did him kill
                   His house he carried on his back.
                   The Adelphi now may say alas!
                   And to his memory raise a stone:
                   Their gold will be exchanged for brass,
                   Since poor Black Billy’s dead and gone.

[image source]

Obituary transcript after the cut

Keep reading


this is eye opening.

People are wonderful. I love individuals. I hate groups of people. I hate a group of people with a ‘common purpose’. 'Cause pretty soon they have little hats. And armbands. And fight songs. And a list of people they’re going to visit at 3am. So, I dislike and despise groups of people but I love individuals. Every person you look at; you can see the universe in their eyes, if you’re really looking.
—  George Carlin

aseantoo submitted to medievalpoc:

John Webber

Portrait of Kaneena, a chief of the Sandwich Islands in the North Pacific

England (1770-1793)

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress


Wikimedia says:

The actual spelling is Kanaina, and he was one of the two chiefs along with Palea (Pareea) who were the first to greet Captain Cook at Kealakekua Bay. Described as fine as “a figure as can be seen. He was about six feet high, had regular and expressive features, with lively dark eyes; his deportment was easy, firm, and graceful.” According to Abraham Fornander he is possibly the person who struck the fatal blow that ended James Cook’s life, he called him Kalanimanokahoowaha. According to another source he was one of the chiefs that died in the fighting.